Part of the Bay Area News Group

Raiders can’t get air attack off ground

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, August 15th, 2010 at 7:30 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Another day, another practice session that doesn’t remind anyone of the glory days of Sid Gillman. At this point, the Kerry Collins of 2004-05 is starting to look good.

If you’ve been reading my Twitter page, it’s clear the Raiders’ passing game has left a lot to be desired more days than not.

Too may incompletions that stray too far from the target. Too many dropped passes. Too many routes cut short with receivers looking back with a surprised look on their face.

First, an admission. Many of the routine pass plays which wind up as completions don’t make it to Twitter, so in the end it’s not as bad as it sounds. One reason is I can’t type that fast on a phone keyboard.

The other is that in training camp, especially during shorts and shells and seven-on-seven drills, the incompletions and interceptions are the story, because good teams light it up in those situations.

The Raiders are not lighting it up. The last few days, in fact, they seem to have regressed a bit. They’re certainly not any better to my untrained eye than they were a week and a half ago.

Quarterback Jason Campbell continues to throw some very nice passes as well as some others which he doesn’t seem to have timed up with his wide receivers. It’s a similar story for Kyle Boller, although Boller can’t throw on the run as well as Campbell.

Bruce Gradkowski is just getting back on the field with a groin strain and Colt Brennan is currently hoping for a few scraps.

Zach Miller remains the most reliable receiver. No surprise there. Louis Murphy makes the most impressive physical plays, but also misses a few chances at sensational chances _ missing them by a fraction _ and dropping some easy ones.

Darrius Heyward-Bey isn’t dropping passes at the rate he did last year, but disappears for stretches at a time.

Todd Watkins had one terrific catch from Boller deep Sunday, turning outside, then inside to snatch a ball out of the air.

Nick Miller is doing what he did last year, Yamon Figurs made some plays against Dallas but struggled on Sunday.

Chaz Schlilens is getting back into the mix, made a few catches Sunday, and continues to be the one receiver who makes it look smooth and easy when he is healthy and feeling good. Which hasn’t been nearly often enough.

Asked if the pass offense is where he thought it would be at this point or if there are too many balls hitting the ground, Cable said, “I still feel that there are too many on the ground. We fight that constantly. We’re certainly improved in that area, but we’ve got to keep cleaning it up and cleaning it up, there’s days where you feel you’re making improvement on that and there’s days you feel like, OK, we still have a lot of work to do.’’

Defensive backs have talked about the challenges of defending the schemes put in by offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, but of late those routes and concepts have done little to make for a more productive offense.

True, they’re better than they were a year ago. But considering what was going on a year ago with the guy wearing No. 2, they’d just about have to be.

Either the Raiders start making some serious progress in a short period of time, or expect this year’s M.O. to be a team that relies on running the ball, playing defense and throwing sparingly until they join a league where most teams live by the pass.

More news, notes and quotes:

– It was family day for players and coaches at the Napa Marriott, with children, girlfriends and significant others on hand for practice. As a result, minimal interviews following practice.

Nice touch by the Raiders this year _ bringing out tables with umbrellas and chairs to the area in front of the field house with a temporary cabana with barbecued food, lemonade and iced tea.

Many players were playing with their kids even as Cable was going through his post-practice briefing.

– Great move by Murphy on a third-and-10 sideline grab, catching the ball at the stake and leaving Stanford Routt on the ground with a spin move to get the first down.

– Jacoby Ford was on the field for the first time since Aug. 7 but was being eased in. He fielded a few punts, ran a few routes. Cable said he hopes Ford will play against Chicago Saturday. Same for Schilens.

– The three players Cable ruled as “questionable’’ for Chicago were LB Sam Williams (concussion), WR Paul Hubbard (hamstring) and QB Charlie Frye (hand). He said Darren McFadden “possibly’’ could be questionable to face the Bears, but that McFadden was improving.

Considering DE Jay Richardson (knee) will see a specialist Monday, according to Cable, you can probably add him to that list. Frye will see a specialist Tuesday.

– Since it appears Mario Henderson is entrenched at left tackle, and Jared Veldheer is playing left tackle and center, two questions come to mind: 1) Is it getting to be time to have Veldheer play one position if you’re thinking about letting him compete for a starting job; and 2) Could he eventually play right tackle?

Here’s how Cable answered:

“I think if he fit there, if he keeps developing where he becomes one of your top five players and you’ve got to find your spot for him,’’ Cable said. “The real bottom line to your question is he’s got to continue to grow. It (the Dallas game) was not bad, but there’s a lot more that’s needed in order to get it into that sort of mind fame.’’

Translation _ he’s not ready.

— One way the passing game has come along, which could pay dividends down the road _ linemen have an idea of Campbell’s depth in the pocket, which should help protection.

“Not to talk bad about JaMarcus or anything like that, but there is more definition with Jason,’’ Henderson said. “If he says he’s dropping back three steps, it’s going to be three. If he says it’s seven, it’s going to be seven. (Campbell) is good at what he does as far as footwork.’’

– The Raiders will have a padded practice Monday morning. Cable said he was impressed with the physicality against Dallas, and the better the Raiders play in terms of tackling and hitting in the preseason, the less inclined they’ll be to hit in training camp.

“My thought on pads or no pads has been, A), our health, and B), just the quality of work we’re getting, whether we’re in ‘em or out of ‘em, and this team has shown maturity in that they can go out and get work done and not have to be in pads to do it all the time,’’ Cable said.

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  • edward teach

    I could be wrong, but it sees to me that working on passing game trumps “pounding the rock” in the preseason.

    Yeah, we need to practice running the ball as well, but working on timing and execution when we throw the ball is where the work really need to get done, and that should be obvious based on the Dallas game.

  • SaintKaufman

    My take on the 4th and 1 was Campbell was looking for the mismatch and found Miller covered be Brooking out wide. If the ball wasn’t tipped it would have been pass interference because Brooking had both hands all over Miller with the ball in the air.

    We do need to see Campbell outside of the pocket though. That should really open things up across the middle for Murphy and Miller.

  • Nnamdi21

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:35 pm
    if Satele has a serious injury, does that give the starting job to Morris or Veldheer at Chicago ???

    ===================

    Morris. Veld isn’t ready but will get more reps and thats good…

  • Nnamdi21

    352. Agreed.

    We haven’t and won’t see all the Raiders have got till wekk one…

  • mistic1

    # The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Mistic, what game were you watching? Campbell and the first string offense couldn’t do anything.
    *******************************************************

    I think the 1st team offense looked light years better than last year, and really good for running out a new qb, new oc, and new terminology. Did you really expect the more than that so soon. Please people get real, it wont happen overnight, this is not madden football on play station.
    *******************************************************

    # DKnight007 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    # DKnight007 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    mistic1 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:22 pm
    I dont have a huge problem with the fourth and one call. Yes you could have smashed in there but also spreading with four wides did give the receivers one on ones. Actually ther erceiver was open but campbell missed him. That pass hits the wide out in stride it could be much more than just a first down.

    ^^^^^^^
    Thats why you don’t call a spread 4 wide pass play.

    Low percentage.
    *****************************************************

    Since when is RAIDER FOOTBALL PERCENTAGE FOOTBALL????
    besides this is preseason so there could be any number of reasons why that play was called, this does not mean that plays will be called that way when we go live.

  • Nnamdi21

    wekk one..ugh…stupid qwerty

  • SaintKaufman

    And one more point to make myself feel better. Dallas has a very good defense. Actually #2 in the league last year in points allowed. And they were playing at home….and this was their second game….and we have a new OC….and a new QB….and our OL is………:)

  • http://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 408RAIDER

    where is the fix?

  • edward teach

    4th and 1; good call, not good execution. Had the pass been caught Hue Jackson would have been praised to no end in here for thinking outside the box and everybody would be talking about what a breath of fresh air he brought to the team. About how his creativity would take us to new heights, how all of our weapons would all of a sudden become the scourge of the NFL, and questions would start to arise as to how far we could go in the playoffs.

    You know, the normal reactions to a single play or two in the first preseason game.

  • JB

    # Bo Schembechler Jackson Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    As for the running game…we can use DMAC’s explosiveness…especially given the passing game is going to struggle….Bush will be fine.

    ::::::::::::::::::::::::

    LMAO @ explosiveness. The only dramatic results he has produced are turnovers.
    **********************

    Oh Oh BSJ! You just got on Dakota’s DMac schit list. Come to think of it, a lot of us are on there. LOL

  • SaintKaufman

    I also thought Kelly played pretty well. Drew alot of double-teams, had some disruptions and tackles. Seymour was a little disappointing but also made some plays. This front seven could really be exciting.
    Of course if they play really well it will only unearth our below average pass protection.

  • http://blackhole@aldavisshouldbeonmountrushmore Drexl

    Hot diggidy damn! Season tickets just arrived. The backpack sucks balls.

  • RaiderRockstar

    I could be wrong, but it sees to me that working on passing game trumps “pounding the rock” in the preseason.

    ***

    ET: you mean the same old song & dance from last year?

    no thanks man. last offseason with Cable’s Air Coryell camp was a disaster

    preseason = practice

    you practice how you play!

    no more shirts & shells, learning intensive nonsense either. that spells SOFT football team

    how much mentally tougher did we get anyways? still saw a bunch of flags against us in Dallas!

    if guys get hurt, the next guy better be ready. thats why you need DEPTH on a football team, because injuries are a part of the game

  • ABigK

    You guy’s kill me. They sacked our QB once during that whole game. We were running the basic, plain, High School offense during that game. What happened? JC was sacked one time. Period!

  • mistic1

    Fact some people dont like Al Davis, so if thet lose its all his fault, and if they when credit goes to everyone else.

    Some of you dont like campbell, ( or any black qb )even though most have not watched a lot of him i am amazed at how much heat he is taking already on this blog. Give the man a chance to show what he can do. People may also have a skewed view of his abilties. He is mobile enough to make plays when things breakdown, but he is not a running qb. This guy is a pure pocket passer first, with a skill set that fits what we want to do. Play action and get the ball deep.

  • mistic1

    # RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I could be wrong, but it sees to me that working on passing game trumps “pounding the rock” in the preseason.

    ***

    ET: you mean the same old song & dance from last year?

    no thanks man. last offseason with Cable’s Air Coryell camp was a disaster

    preseason = practice

    you practice how you play!

    *****************************************************

    Obviously the coaches already knew what we found out, this team is much better at run blocking and running game. The passing game and pass protection needs a lot of work. Working on the passing game while installing a new offense is critical in the preseason.

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    Mistic, I know you worship the ground Al Davis walks on, and will even when he completes his 10th straight 10 loss season in a few years, but you need to get my point: The reason why other owners don’t run the type of man coverage Al does is because IT DOESN’T WORK. They’d like to. It sounds good in theory. But they know it won’t work, because it doesn’t. That’s why I asked you if you thought there were no other owners in the league who wanted a pressure defense with blanket coverage. They all want it. Just like we all want to win the lottery. But what does it say of some idiot who buys lotter tickets every single day, insisting he’s going to win? Is he a genius? Does he want to win “more badly” than the others? Of course he does. But the odds of winning are practically impossible, that’s why most people either don’t play, or only play recreationally. Most owners would love to run a pressure man defense that just blankets the offense. But in today’s NFL of complex offenses and offensive staffs that meticulously study game film to find weaknesses in opposing defenses, you have to be more diverse than that. It’s a chess game, has been for decades. Al still thinks it’s a game of pure brawn. At the pop warner and high school levels, in many cases, it still is. But in college and especially in the NFL, offensive and defensive strategy is a chess game, where the players are pawns. And Al’s approach to the game is to just knock the opposing pawns off of the table and of course you just can’t do that.

  • SouthDakotaRaider

    mistic1 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:00 pm
    Fact some people dont like Al Davis, so if thet lose its all his fault, and if they when credit goes to everyone else.

    Some of you dont like campbell, ( or any black qb )even though most have not watched a lot of him i am amazed at how much heat he is taking already on this blog. Give the man a chance to show what he can do. People may also have a skewed view of his abilties. He is mobile enough to make plays when things breakdown, but he is not a running qb. This guy is a pure pocket passer first, with a skill set that fits what we want to do. Play action and get the ball deep.

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    Raiders Fans are some of the most fickle fans in the NFL by any means.

    Remember when Gannon got injured?? people were practically cheering for the backup to come on because he “threw” the superbowl game away.

    All it takes in the Nation is one bad game sometimes.

  • Captain Mudslide & the Dingle Berry Posse

    even with that game etched in memory i’m still a gannon fan….some of our best years were with him at the helm.

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    mistic1 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Fact some people dont like Al Davis, so if thet lose its all his fault, and if they when credit goes to everyone else.

    ……………….

    Fact some people worship Al Davis, so if they win it’s all to his credit, and if they lose the blame goes to everyone else.

    (See how easy this game is? We can play all day, buddy.)

  • SouthDakotaRaider

    Captain Mudslide & the Dingle Berry Posse Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:10 pm
    even with that game etched in memory i’m still a gannon fan….some of our best years were with him at the helm.

    = = = = = = = = = = = =

    i watched that game before i was a raiders fan(keep in mind i am still young)

    and i started being a fan about 2006, been one ever since

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    SouthDakotaRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Raiders Fans are some of the most fickle fans in the NFL by any means.

    ………..

    It’s to avoid blaming Al. The process of deflecting blame from Davis involves basically a merry go round of other players, coaches and staff to continuously blame instead.

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    If Al Davis designed cars, and a Davis worshiper like Mistic bought one, and the brakes failed, he would blame himself for not checking the brakes, even though the car is brand new. Others would simply blame Al for cutting corners. That’s the difference between Davis worshipers and the sane people of the world.

  • SouthDakotaRaider

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:13 pm
    SouthDakotaRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Raiders Fans are some of the most fickle fans in the NFL by any means.

    ………..

    It’s to avoid blaming Al. The process of deflecting blame from Davis involves basically a merry go round of other players, coaches and staff to continuously blame instead.

    = = = = == = = = = = = =

    You know its weird, but i only semi disagree with you, even though im perplexed as to why you mentioned him. but i think it has more to do with our slogan; you know “Commitment to Excellence” on top of the glory of the Raiders of old. i think thats why we are a fickle people, because we remember past glories, and anything less than living up to that glory is unacceptable in our eyes.

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    “commitment to excellence” goes further to prove my point, SDR. Would you say Al has been excellent in recent years? You’re talking about fickle fans who turn on Raiders in a heart beat if they start underperforming. This standard seems to apply to all Raiders other than Al. If it were the slogan involving excellence that was the foundation of Raider fans being so short sighted, Al Davis would have been thrown from the plank years ago, and most people would have canceled their season tickets. So we know it’s not that, don’t we?

  • mistic1

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Mistic, I know you worship the ground Al Davis walks on, and will even when he completes his 10th straight 10 loss season in a few years, but you need to get my point: The reason why other owners don’t run the type of man coverage Al does is because IT DOESN’T WORK. They’d like to. It sounds good in theory. But they know it won’t work, because it doesn’t.
    *********************************************************
    Bra, your killing me! PRESS MAN 4-3 DOESNT WORK!?!?!?!?! Teams since 2000 that use the press man 4-3. New york giants in 2001, and won the big one a couple of years ago, and oakland 2003. That is three examples of Davis philosophy defense this decade. Your funny.

  • Lakota

    Al is just a horrible horrible GM. That is a fact jack. No other team, not even the lions, would allow a GM to continue in his job if he had set NFL records for futility like Al has.

    Al do the right thing and FIRE YOURSELF!

  • http://blackhole@aldavisshouldbeonmountrushmore Drexl

    # SouthDakotaRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Remember when Gannon got injured??
    ——————————
    The old Siragusa flop, who doesn’t remember that?

    Barrett Robbins meltdown was bigger than Gannon’s craptastic throwing that day, IMO.

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    Mistic, the Giants do not play as much man coverage as the Raiders do. No team in the league does. Rod Woodson said as much on ESPN a couple of years back. He’s a good enough source for me. I’ll defer to him, if it’s ok. And, the 2003 Raiders? Are you joking?

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    Lakota, your point reminds me of the so many Davis worshipers who love to mock some of Al’s adversaries, like Gruden, being “out of the league”…as if Al would still be IN the league if he didn’t own a team. I would challenge any of these guys to name one team, since 1990, that would hire Al Davis in any football related capacity. Let’s see if any of them take the bait, for laughs.

  • SouthDakotaRaider

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:25 pm
    Lakota, your point reminds me of the so many Davis worshipers who love to mock some of Al’s adversaries, like Gruden, being “out of the league”…as if Al would still be IN the league if he didn’t own a team. I would challenge any of these guys to name one team, since 1990, that would hire Al Davis in any football related capacity. Let’s see if any of them take the bait, for laughs.

    = = = = = = = = = = = == = = = = =

    Bet you the lions would, cause nothing can be worse than the lions :D

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    The meltdown that would jinx us in Super Bowl 37 actually happened about a year earlier.

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    Actually, SDR, the Raiders have been worse than the Lions since the Raiders began their skid in 2003. So, it can get worse than the Lions, SDR. The Raiders.

  • mistic1

    # The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    If Al Davis designed cars, and a Davis worshiper like Mistic bought one, and the brakes failed, he would blame himself for not checking the brakes, even though the car is brand new. Others would simply blame Al for cutting corners. That’s the difference between Davis worshipers and the sane people of the world.
    *********************************************************

    I have never absolved Davis when he screws something up, Davis is the Raiders! When they suck it is largely his fault! Im fine with that.

    However they win it also largely because of Davis. I am a fan of Davis, because he is not afraid to let you know what he thinks. He is not afraid to mkae tough decisions, or pull the trigger on a deal he thinks will work.

    He blame when they lose, and credit when they win.

  • SouthDakotaRaider

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:28 pm
    Actually, SDR, the Raiders have been worse than the Lions since the Raiders began their skid in 2003. So, it can get worse than the Lions, SDR. The Raiders.

    = = = = = = = = = = = =
    :) i was semi-trolling if you couldnt tell, and im pretty sure i would take 5-11 or 4-12 or even 3-13 over 0-16

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    It was actually Al Davis’s bi-polar meltdown at the end of the 2001 season, where he gave our coach to Tampa Bay, which set up our devastating loss in Super Bowl 37.

  • mistic1

    # The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Mistic, the Giants do not play as much man coverage as the Raiders do. No team in the league does. Rod Woodson said as much on ESPN a couple of years back. He’s a good enough source for me. I’ll defer to him, if it’s ok. And, the 2003 Raiders? Are you joking?
    *********************************************************
    I meant 2002 raiders, i cant see the key board im laughing so hard at your post my eyes are tearing.

    i didnt say the giants were a carbon copy, but it is the same concept! Every d coordinator has his own way to call a game. But don’t tell me press man 4-3 doesn’t work, ridiculous.

  • Captain Mudslide & the Dingle Berry Posse

    good point RMR….who does that?

  • SaintKaufman

    Crap!
    Cable responds when asked about how Routt is doing…

    “I have been very pleased with him in camp. I think there has been a change in Stan with his intensity and how he works at it, and it is like everybody, you want to see it carry over to the game but I have been very pleased with him thus far”.

    Come on Tom, how many times can this dude get burned, miss a tackle, miss an assignment, allows a catch, etc???

    Better yet, come on Stan!! You’ve got all of this physical ability but you run around like you have no anticipation at all. Make a frickin play!! And by play I mean make a simple tackle, or knock down a poorly thrown ball, or cover somebody!!

    OK, I’m better now.

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    mistic1 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I have never absolved Davis when he screws something up

    ……………

    Fair enough.

    So who do you blame for screwing up the team we had when Gruden and Gannon were here?

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    Mistic, first off, the 2002 Raiders were an offensive team. They were not a defensive team. Whatever complimentary defensive stats they had that year were due to an offense that was nearly unstoppable for most of the season. Noting Rod Woodson’s huge interception in the Denver game, I’d still submit that we did not in ONE GAME in 2002 because of our defense. Woodson’s pick was the spark that ignited a reawakening of our offense.

    Back to the Giants, and Woodson, for this matter. It was Rod Woodson who said on ESPN a couple of years ago that NOBODY in the NFL runs man as much as the Raiders do. Should I believe you over him, and why?

  • JB

    # Drexl Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    # SouthDakotaRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Remember when Gannon got injured??
    ——————————
    The old Siragusa flop, who doesn’t remember that?

    Barrett Robbins meltdown was bigger than Gannon’s craptastic throwing that day, IMO.
    *******************

    You are 100% correct. Adam Tru, Robbins back-up was worse than Satele. IMO, it was Robbins absence that lost us the SB. HE WAS THAT IMPORTANT TO THE O-LINE PLAY. This points out the importance of the center position. Gannon was getting rushed and sacked all day because the middle of the O-line was a turnstyle – like it is right now.

    Gannon was one of our best all-time QB’s even though he didn’t win the SB. Had he not been hurt, he would have led us back to the trophy. It’s too bad he’s on he outs with the Raider management. He had a work ethic that no other QB could equal. I do miss Gannon. Maybe JCampbell can become our next Gannon.

  • priesttj

    Great post #365 Mystic1

    Campbell impressed me, now I just want to see him get better and better. For the first time out I have zero complaints about anyone on offense including the Oline. I didn’t expect a polished passing game by any means.

    I think I’m really going to like Jason Campbell he’s kind of like Gannon with a deep ball. So we’ll see what happens.

  • zopi

    Great reference to Barret Robbins. No doubt if Barret hadn’t taken the wrong turn off the I-5 that landed him in a Tijuana strip joint, the Raiders would’ve won.
    He was an all-pro center. However, the Raiders are going to need more than another Barret.
    Something has to be done about that damn Raider playbook, if there is anything telling about a meaningless first exhibition game is that the more things change the more they look the same.

  • ohioraider

    # RaiderRich510 Says:
    August 15th, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Al is gonna make a move soon …I can smell it!

    Let’s hope it’s off this mortal coil.

    7-9 folks. That what we’re looking at. Offense is third rate at best.

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